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Susan Rambo
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Are vendors telling the truth?
Susan Rambo   4/25/2014 9:09:25 AM
Good story about investigating the claims of MCU vendors on cell battery life. Some of the claims are outrageous. We need more engineers helping debunk marketing claims.

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Re: Are vendors telling the truth?
AZskibum   4/25/2014 10:04:01 AM
It depends on the application. I can think of one in particular in which the product stays plugged into the AC mains 24/7 and the coincell is needed only to retain certain data in RAM during periods of power outage or when the product is moved from one room to another, which is infrequently. These products typically last a decade or longer without depleting the coincell.

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teaser article
dt_hayden   4/25/2014 10:47:54 AM
What is the purpose of putting a teaser article here with the rest of the article at another site?  Increased ad revenue?

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Useful current draw
dt_hayden   4/25/2014 10:56:57 AM
The statement about 10mA draw based on 200uA/MHz and maximum clock rate of 48MHz not being useful is pretty misleading.  Quite a lot can be done with microcontrollers running at less than their maximum clock speeds, although wasteful programming and inefficient compliers can certainly result in the requirement to run at full speed.    Efficient design practices generally payoff in less power, less rfi, less heat, and possibly smaller size/less weight.

The information about the internal resistance change is interesting.  We saw a similar issue when looking for supercapacitors to power SSDs during power interruptions.

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Re: Useful current draw
alex_m1   4/25/2014 12:05:17 PM

And one cn do better than 200ua/mhz. energy micro takes 150ua/mhz in active mode and 45ua/mhz in automated peripherial mode. And the peripheral cans do interesting things on their own.

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re: Sleep current is, to a first approximation, irrelevant
bk11   4/25/2014 2:46:55 PM
It really depends on the application.  This month I experienced two instances of battery failure in devices where sleep current largely defines the battery life.  In both cases, a CR2025 is used to drive a micro that sleeps until a key is pressed.

The first instance, a DVD player remote control, died at about a year old.  The control was found under some books, and had been there a while, likely pressing buttons the whole time.  If that hadn't happened, I suspect the battery might have outlasted the player.

The second was the key fob transmitter on a 10 year old car.  I've had the car since new, so I know the battery had never been replaced.  The dead battery showed a few millivolts, and the new battery stopped working after a couple of days.  I measured the sleep current, and it was way too high to support a 10-year battery life.  Scrubbing the PCB with flux remover dropped the sleep current to a much more reasonable level.  I was going to replace the battery in the second fob (which gets more use) but I think I'll wait until it (or the car) dies just to see what the lifetime is.

I think in both of these cases, the battery would normally have outlived the device, or at least the original owner, making it essentially maintenance-free to the original customer.


What are the engineering and design challenges in creating successful IoT devices? These devices are usually small, resource-constrained electronics designed to sense, collect, send, and/or interpret data. Some of the devices need to be smart enough to act upon data in real time, 24/7. Specifically the guests will discuss sensors, security, and lessons from IoT deployments.

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